Flip the Script ~ A Photographer’s Musical Diary

September 29, 2012

Flip the Script ~ A Photographers Musical Diary by Kingsley Davis, London, UK.

Kingley Davis is from North London, England and is an Arsenal supporter but I didn’t hold that against him when he walked into my shop to give me some copies of his book before flying back to the UK.

‘Flip the Script Book provides a unique insight into how the music scene is changing, driven by technological innovations but also by the creativity, individuality and experimentation of the artists themselves. This special collection of portraits by Kingsley Davis was produced in ‘diary’ form and is an intimate documentation of many music genres.    

With a special preface by Norman Jay MBE, the title of the book reflects this change, as the artists featured have achieved success on their own terms, with or without stylists, A&R reps or publicists.  A common feature among the artists is having access to digital media giving them the opportunity to be heard and recognized overnight.                                            

Many of the artists featured in “Flip the Script” have come through underground cultures or sub-cultures and have emerged without comprising their authentic credentials.               

This adds to their appeal among discerning audiences, and so the book is finding a market among music buyers, youth and urban culture enthusiasts as well as those with a professional interest in music, lifestyle and fashion. The book is now stocked in 5 unique stores across London and most recently in the famous Photographers Gallery, the UK’s only gallery dedicated to photography.’

Available from Kingsley Davis at www.flipthescriptbook.com or email : info@flipthescriptbook.com

Also available from the Beatmerchant Record Store, Steveston Village, Richmond, BC, Canada.


Max Bygraves ~ Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be

September 13, 2012

I Wanna Tell You A Story!

Walter Bygraves was born one of six children in the docklands of south east London and his father was a boxer, he came from a poor council estate background and his is a story of  rags to riches steeped in music hall tradition. When he joined the RAF he used to impersonate Max Miller and that is where he picked up his nickname Max. My nan & grandad once told me he started his career singing in the Beacon pub in my home town Dagenham. Wonder if that is true!

Max had been making a name for himself on the BBC radio show “Educating  Archie” with the catch phrase “Good Idea, Son!” but in 1954 the British Hit Parade came into being and that year was a stellar year for young comic Max with hits with the Tanner Sisters ” Friends & Neighbours” and on his own with “Heart Of My Heart” and the classic ” Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea” which became a firm family favourite in our house. Also making her UK chart debut that year was Petula Clark with her song “The Little Shoemaker”.

One of my favourites as a kiddie was ” You’re A Pink Tooth Brush” which was on the radio a lot and I  met one of the writers of the song in the mid 80’s who was a fine old gentleman by the name of Bob Halfin who was working as a music publisher for a company called Campbell &  Connelly which sounded like a firm of solicitors but was one of the oldest music publishing companies in Britain.

Over the next couple of years Max appeared in the charts with “Heart” & “Meet Me On The Corner”. In May 1958 he hit No.3 big on the chart with “You Need Hands’ c/w “Tulips From Amsterdam” which became his theme tunes, both songs staying on the charts for 21 weeks that summer and selling over a million copies. At Christmas ’59 Max returned with the Christmas song “Jingle Bell Rock” .                    

In 1960 Bygraves bought the rights to an unknown song that he liked one of the songs from ~ The musical was “Oliver” written by Lionel Bart and the song was “Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be” and after that he never had to count his pennies again!

In the 70’s Max Bygraves enjoyed huge success with his Sing~Along~With Max albums on Pye Records which drew heavily from the nostalgia of music hall of the family medley sing~song! and he dented the charts again in 1973 with the Wink Martindale classic “Deck of Cards”.  Few British all round entertainers have been more loved.                     

I was lucky enough to meet Max Bygraves when one day he parked his beautiful Rolls Royce next to my wreck at ATV House in Marble Arch and he got out said hello and shook my hand.

I will never forget the number plate on the Rolls ~ it was MB 1. Years later Mercedes Benz offered Max one million pounds for that number plate and he turned them down.

When he was awarded the OBE his friend Eric Skyes rang him to asked him if he knew what the intitals OBE stood for! “No” said Max ~ “Over Blinkin’ Eighty” replied Eric.

Great little story from 2003 was that an Oxfam charity shop in Kent banned Max Bygraves records from the shop because they had too many of them already! Good Idea Son!


Joe Walsh ~ Welcome to the Club

September 8, 2012

Tues, Aug. 28th 2012: Esquimalt, Victoria, BC. ~ Fri. Sept 7th : Red Robinson Theatre, Coquitlam, BC.

The light faded fast from the sky. It was a little chilly. I sat in a field with my wonderful wife Wendy and about two thousand other wonderful people waiting for Joe Walsh to come on stage. The stage had recently been vacated by Kim Mitchell. He of Patio Lanterns and Lets Go For A Soda fame. That was fun! In the same way that looking at photos taken of yourself when you were fourteen might be! They were a good, tight band. You couldn’t help feeling a little  sorry for them though. The selection of teen rebel, love and anxiety songs sounded a little odd coming from a group of men in their fifties. At one point Mitchell jokingly chastised the audience, most of who were sitting on chairs brought from home, he explained that “you’ll never get into to it if you sit there in your chairs with your arms folded!”. True! but, well it was one of his songs “I am the Wild Party” that really said to us now, “well not so much now, but back in the day you should have seen us!”.  In fairness lots of the people there had, like an old school reunion where you say “ you haven’t changed a bit ” but you mean “that look stopped working for you in the mid Seventies ~ Move on!”                                                      

And now came the main event. Joe Walsh. Not really a“superstar” even though he is one of the Eagles, he’s always been a sort of a anti superstar. The stage was set, two full drum kits, a percussionist and three backing singers added to a rhythm guitarist,the bass player and get this, a keyboard guy playing a full size Hammond organ through a Lesley speaker no less! No digital effects or drum loops here just a rock n roll band. This is live music ~ no downloads. During the week the local radio station had been playing Joe’s latest work as a build up to the concert. One of which, in true Joe Walsh fashion, was about his own struggle with drugs and alcohol. He gave up his best friend vodka 18 years ago and looks trim and in good shape. Walsh’s music is, and has always been about how he sees the world and himself fitting into it with a sense of humour.  Everybody’s so different ~ I haven’t changed.             

From the opening chords the night changed. No one was noticing the chill any more! No one was stting in their seats any more. Joe Walsh takes what he does very seriously, no going through the motions here, his delivery is nothing short of greatness. Every fiber of his body is focused upon the delivery of his music and the resulting passion and joy is plain to see everywhere. What adds to this is that while he takes his work serious he doesn’t take himself too much that way. “Nice town” says Joe “I spent a great week here one night in the eighties.” He plays a series of guitars provided to him by his guitar tech and plays within the band and not in front of them. This is a great band. Think of any Joe Walsh song on an album you have, now go and listen to it, that’s the sound of recorded music, but there is so much more live!

When you hear parts of Voodoo Child, Cast Your Fate To the Wind and Bolero weaving through his guitar work you are reminded of the late great Jimi Hendrix. This is a master class in guitar playing. When you look on in astonishment at the man who’s sounds have no right to be on this worldly planet swirling around and over you, making the  hair on the back of your neck stand up on end and your heart  skip a beat, and suddenly, just for a moment the world is full of magic and wonders and you are, not looking at the fourteen year old in the photo anymore you feel like that fourteen year old again. Joe played his James Gang stuff and his new work off Analog Man before he played I Shall Be Released which morphed into the best, a game changing  version of his classic Turn to Stone. Both dedicated to his late friend Levon Helm.

So was Rocky Mountain Way good? Did Life In The Fast Lane live up to expectations? Was Funk#49 still happening now? And maybe, just maybe there was a sharper edge to “Life’s Been Good To Me ”? It was all good for me. Everybody sing ~ He’s Cool!

Sorry kids “if your mom and dad  have played it to death in the past”  but Joe Walsh is the great player you get!  Make no mistake about what he brings to each and every song it is himself. He is a premier guitarist, songwriter, singer and performer of epic proportions.             

If you can then see Joe Walsh and his band on the Analog Man tour before it’s gone. It is good to know that giants still walk among us.  I am already using this experience as proof that being “authentic” is the difference between being there and just being.                      

 Kieran Kelleher

 From a field, behind the Rec’ Center, Esquimalt.

 


The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

August 19, 2012

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer blues duo plays Steveston

HarpoonistandTheAxeMurderer2.jpg
Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers are the Harpoonist and the Axe Murder ~also known as HAM

By Matthew Hoekstra – Richmond Review
Published: August 17, 2012 9:00 AM
Updated: August 17, 2012 9:45 AM

Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers admit their band name might scare some people off. But the duo says they’ve “made their peace with that.”

The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer—or HAM as they’re otherwise known—combine blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and have a live show that’s anything but usual. They swing into Steveston Aug. 17.

 The Vancouver musicians limit their sound to whatever they can play between them—using only their mouths, hands and feet. Hall provides the vocals and blues harp, and Rogers handles the drums and guitar.

 The co-ordination between instruments—and themselves—is a show in itself, and the duo is proud to boast that it takes just minutes to get soaked with sweat.

 Music came to Hall when he was 12, living in Toronto. His grandmother gave him a harmonica and a book: Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless. At the same age, on the other side of the country, Rogers was falling in love with the guitar.

 The pair met in a studio session for a radio jingle advertising the Jamaican Pizza Jerk and decided to embark on a musical project together. A song by Kris Kristofferson referencing the blues harp inspired the “harpoonist” in the band’s name. Rogers, being the guitarist, became “the axe murderer.”

 The band, one of 20 finalists in the Peak Performance Project professional development program hosted by a Vancouver radio station, is now touring in support of their 2011 album Checkered Past. It’s the duo’s third album, addressing classic blues themes of heartbreak, addiction and layoffs.

 The band’s Steveston show is part of the Music at the Cannery summer concert series. The concert, organized by The Beatmerchant record store, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Admission is by donation ($5 suggested); arrive early to get a seat.

 Coming up in the series: Tommy Alto on Aug. 24, and Swell & Swag and the Swagmen on Aug. 31.


Roger Hodgson ~ The Voice of Supertramp

August 6, 2012

Roger Hodgson ~ Friday 3rd August 2012 ~ River Rock Casino, Richmond, BC, Canada.

Roger Hodgson12-String Guitar, Grand Piano, Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Aaron Macdonald sax, keybords, harmonies
Kevin AdamsonKeyboards
Bryan HeadDrums
David J CarpenterBass

The River Rock is a really nice venue with not a bad seat in the house, seating about 980 people. The staff are very friendly and cheerfully show you to your seat. The only thing that I didn’t like was that the audience is allowed to bring their drinks into the show and while the show is on there is a constant stream of people leaving and returning to the auditorium with more drinks or after a washroom break, but I suppose that is one of the ways the casino makes their money.                                                            

This evening the voice of Supertramp ~ Roger Hodgson plays solo with his new band on the Breakfast In America tour and the band takes to the stage first followed by the man himself to great applause and  there is a lot of love inside this auditorium for Roger tonight!

Straight into “Take The Long Way Home” followed quickly by “Logical Song” and the audience are standing up on their feet already with sideman Aaron MacDonald a Canadian from Ontario impressing on both Harmonica and Saxaphone. As a couple arrive late and are taking their seats Roger chips in lightheartly with ‘Your late, you have missed the best songs”                                                                                                            

Every song is a classic tonight for the audience and I watch the girl in the pink dress at the side of the stage who danced the whole night away and knew all the words to such songs as “Hide In Your Shell”. Roger talks to the audience and tells them that ‘ Music holds memories like nothing else and you have to hang onto your love especially in this world today’ This man is loved and gives out a lot of love himself and comes across as a geniune person. By “Breakfast In America” the audience are back on their feet again.

One song which I had not heard before and which appeared on his 2000 solo album release “Open The Door” a song  called ” Death and the Zoo”. has great lyrics and was one of the highlights of the show for me as the song is not so well known.

The band are really cooking now and have a great groove almost slightly jazzy in places and the audience hits a high point as they delivers the classic “It’s Raining Again” & “Dreamer” and Roger and the boys leave the stage and come back for a roaring encore version of “Give A Little Bit”.

When you listen to the words of “Give A Little Bit” you see that Roger Hodgson is a man with a gentle soul and thinks about other people , the state of the planet and is a happy man within himself and everyone who was at the show went home happy too! Rock On Roger.

ROGER HODGSON – BREAKFAST IN AMERICA U.S. DATES: 
 
Some things you might not know about Roger Hodgson.

Website : www.rogerhodgson.com

Roger went to school with Richard Branson.

Supertramp was A&M Records biggest selling artists along with The Police.                   

Born in Portsmouth, England ~ Roger now lives in California.                                         

In 1987 Roger broke both of his wrists and was told he would not  play music again.

All time favourite band : Norwegian band Secret Garden

His first recording session featured Reg Dwight (Elton John) on piano.

Thing he misses the most about England ~  the humour.

Frankie Neilson.


Jet Harris ~ Me and my Shadows

February 7, 2012

In 1958  two Geordie boys came down to London not to visit the queen but to appear in a talent contest their names were Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch and the name of their skiffle band was The Railroaders, sadly they didn’t win the talent contest and as the rest of the band unhappily returned north Hank & Bruce decided to stick it out and with guitars in hand went for coffee in the 2 i’s coffee bar in London’s Soho district. Later the Geordie boys then met Cliff Richard’s manager John Foster who was putting together a backing band called the Drifters to back Cliff on a UK tour, so in early 1959 with Hank on lead guitar and Bruce on rhythm guitar along with blonde and moody and magnificent Jet Harris on bass and the very young Tony Meehan on drums they set off on the road. The classic Shads line up was born!

This line up had all the girls screaming for the good looking  blonde haired Jet Harris and the boyish smile ofTony Meehan.

EMI records producer Norrie Paramor who also produced Cliff Richard on seeing the boys on tour signed them to their own recording contract. They released two singles as the Drifters both with vocals before changing their name to the Shadows because of the American soul band also called the Drifters.

Their second release as the Shadows was an instrumental song called  ‘Apache’ written by Jerry Lordan and it made it all the way to No. 1 on the charts replacing Cliff ‘s ‘Please Don’t Tease’ at the top. An instrumental classic then and now! more hits were to follow with ‘Man of Mystery’ and  ‘FBI’. 1961 saw the release of their first album which stayed on the charts for a year! 1962 saw the Shadows  appear in the Cliff film ‘The Young Ones’ in which they looked brilliant and they hit the top of the charts again with another brilliant Jerry Lordan composition ‘Wonderful Land’.

Who remembers the Shadows dance steps!.

Music shops at this point saw an upswing in the sale of guitars as everyone wanted to play like Hank Marvin from the Shadows.    

The Shadows personnel was to change during this period with Tony Meehan being replaced on drums because of his constant lateness on by the great Brian Bennett and the blonde Jet Harris being replaced by Brian ‘Licorice’ Locking on bass. Jet Harris has said that he left the band because Cliff was having an affair with his wife and unfortunately Jet has hit the bottle for the rest of his life but Jet & Tony both had great success in the UK charts with ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ and ‘Diamonds’ which are great 45s in their own right and just as good as the Shadows. Sad that both players have now passed away. Brian ‘ Licorice’ Locking would later  be replaced on bass by John Rostill and it is was said that Locking was getting a religious hold over Cliff and the band as Cliff found religion and Hank became a Jehovah’s Witness as Locking was himself. The Shads was to lose their permanent bass player and a good songwriter in 1973 when John Rostill  died  from electrocution in his home recording studio. Very sad. All the way through the Shadows long career Bruce Welch and Hank ruled the band with an iron fist making all the decisions and the direction the band would go in.

The Beatles changed everything in the world in 1963 with the beat boom from Merseyside but the Shadows held on with my Shads favourite song ‘Foot Tapper’ and also ‘Shindig’  topping the charts and once again they appeared in the blockbuster Cliff film ‘Summer Holiday’ which is still a great film today.

This was a great period for the much~loved  British instrumental group of all time and all the great British guitar players as youngsters all took their cue from Hank Marvin and to see Cliff and the Shads on the final reunion tour was a fitting reminder of how great these lads are!

Plenty of Twang!


Unplug those iPods and Plug in your Record Players

December 28, 2011

Vinyl Experience ~ What a difference!

The long-playing record or LP as we know it began its life in the late 40’s as a replacement for the more brittle 78 rpm shellac discs and it clearly worked as the LP is still alive and well today!

The main benefit to the introduction of the vinyl LP was it helped improve durability and the capacity to play up to thirty minutes on each side of the record. However it wasn’t until the birth of Rock n Roll and Elvis that the sales of LPs started to escalate and the first stereo LPs started to appear.

Many albums from the 60’s were issued  in both Mono and Stereo versions, opinions are divided about which versions is the best, with both recordings offering a different listening experience. Early Mono versions do demand a higher price on the collector’s market and UK pressings from this period are highly prized.

With the release of the Beatles ‘Sgt. Peppers’ LP the sales of vinyl exploded in the world-wide market place with huge amounts of vinyl being sold right though  the mid 70’s and early 80’s, with acts like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton and Michael Jackson selling big amounts, but in the 60’s we also began to see the LP artwork developed into its own art form. The album covers became  as important as the music itself taking on it’s own life  as the artists gained more artist control from the major record labels.

LPs became big business and the packaging became more elaborate often including printed inner sleeves with lyric inserts, posters and the beautiful gate~fold  sleeve design becoming great works of art and with the superior vinyl sound that is something the Compact Disc and the iPod with its more transistor-radio like sound has yet to match!

If you came through your teenage years listening to vinyl , then it is a hard act to follow, but the CD and iPod do have storage and mobility on their side.

During the 80’s the record companies kept finding new ways and gimmicks to help sell their latest releases and the collectable picture disc and the coloured vinyl became very popular also picture sleeves on the 45 rpm records and the great sounding 12″ records and remixes which had its big time in the new wave and disco era.

By the mid 80’s the record companies were ready to introduce the compact disc and push the new format into the market and almost overnight vinyl disappeared from the record shops as the record companies started not to release any big artist on vinyl let alone the smaller ones forcing CDs on the general public!

But the vinyl market would not go away and the record fairs became the place to buy and exchange vinyl during this period.   

Happily the classic albums from the 50’s and 60’s onwards are once again available today on vinyl along with the new releases.                                                                                                                                                           

Let’s see if the iPod is around in five years let alone fifty like vinyl.                                      

The great thing about the newer acts releasing vinyl is that some of them are including free downloads of the album as well so you can have the best of both worlds.

Many people come into my shop and tell me they still have their records and turntables and I urge you all to make room on your stereo units and plug-in your record players and enjoy again the unique experience of listening to vinyl through your hi~fi or headphones.

We will see what the future brings.

 

 

 


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